Monday, November 10, 2014

Missed... or not

With retirement just around the corner, I've been wondering a little bit about how I'll be remembered at work...or if I'll be remembered at work!

The reality of life moving on and nobody giving a second thought to my not being there is the most likely scenario. Others have retired before me and air traffic continues to flow as somebody else fills that gap in the schedule. Over the years, I have had little contact with those that have retired or moved on to other facilities. They simply move out of my little ATC (Air Traffic Control) world and we each carry on without thinking much about the other.

I imagine that will pretty much be the case at SGF ATCT (Springfield Air Traffic Control Tower, for my non-ATC friends).

However, it occurred to me that now isn't really the time to be thinking about how one will be remembered. Thinking about how you want to be remembered and acting accordingly is way better than thinking about how you will be remembered. There is no going back to unsay harsh words nor undo unkind acts. I can't travel back in time to offer help or to be a friend. I wonder how differently I might have acted if there was a voice inside that quietly said, "Is this the way you want to be remembered?" before each action or sentence.

Unfortunately, many of us end up with regrets over the way we have acted or the things we have said. One friend suggested that it may take some time before people actually realize that they miss having me around or before they recognize that I did have some impact in their life. At some point in the distant future, they may find a way to let me know.

I don't know if that will be the case, but it did make me think that maybe we should let people know when they are doing a good job and having a positive influence over us or others.  There are people that have encouraged me and helped me along the way. There are those that have inspired me and made me want to be a better co-worker/employee/friend. Perhaps a word of recognition would serve to encourage them to continue doing that for others.

Telling someone that they're being a jerk probably won't have much impact in changing them, but encouraging someone to continue doing good may give them a boost when so many kind acts and kind people go unnoticed.

Personally, I'm not looking forward to any kind of retirement send off. I'd be perfectly content with handing in my headset and walking out the door. I expect that there will be a couple of people that I will maintain some contact with for a short time, maybe a couple that I'll see once in a great while; but for the most part, I expect that I'll leave my ATC world in the past and move on.

Several weeks ago I deleted over 300 Facebook friends. Most of them were people with whom I have no contact and share little in common or people that I see on a regular basis and can have real conversations with instead of checking each others status throughout the day. Most of my co-workers were deleted because the fall into the second category and will most likely stay deleted because they will soon fall into the first.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not at all sad about my decision to retire. I'm not sad about the people that I'll be saying my goodbyes to, either. I am a little disappointed that I didn't pay more attention to how I'd like to be remembered when I had the chance to do that.

But we can learn from the past. And while it may be too late to change what has been done, each of us can begin to live purposefully to leave behind great memories and to encourage the people that we encounter today!

We don't even have to plan to leave a life long legacy behind. We only have to think about how people will  remember us -- tonight; at the end of the day. Will anybody think back (for just a brief moment) about a kind word or kind act from someone that they may or may not have known?

Let's face it. Our memories are pretty short. After nearly two decades at SGF ATCT, March will come and go and nobody will have even a thought of good ol' JH. But maybe tonight someone might have the thought, "That was a nice thing he said today," or "That was a nice thing he did."

I think it's fair to say that I'll not be missed much; and not for very long. Why should it be any different for me than it has been for others? I guess it's really not that important, is it?

Maybe we work too hard at leaving behind legacies.
Maybe not being remembered isn't such a bad thing.
Maybe living to do well in the moment is what legacies are really made of.

John <><


eViL pOp TaRt said...

Wise thoughts, John. I expect that you will enjoy reyirement.

John Hill said...

I expect that I will, Angel.